Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Heartbeat Trilogy

Raise your hand if you like a book trilogy? Keep them up if you like a romance trilogy that keeps you on the edge of your seat thinking things can't possibly get ANY crazier, but then they absolutely do?

Good. We all look like morons with our hands in the air at home or at work, but it's all for a good cause.

Heartbeat - Faith Sullivan
Katie and Adam are afraid of love. She carries the scars of a first kiss gone terribly wrong. He uproots his life to flee the stinging betrayal of an ex. When trust is no longer an option, all romance is suspect. As a young paramedic, Adam rescues people for a living but cannot save himself. Katie, just out of high school, struggles with a tortured home life she cannot escape. Everything changes when Katie hops into the front seat of Adam's ambulance. Overwhelmed by what they are feeling, neither possess the confidence to make the first move. They walk away from each other, full of regret. To find her, Adam risks his future. To be with him, Katie sacrifices her security. Little do they know, what little time they do have, is being measured by a heartbeat that is slowly dying out.

I'll be honest, when I first started this book it felt wonky. I wasn't getting into it right away and Katie was a little too naive for my liking. She kind of gives off the "I can't even help myself at ALL" vibe and anyone who knows me this is the type of girl I'd like to kick in the girl parts. Like, grow a set of balls you hot mess. But then like any die hard romance novel fan, I pretty much start to love it. I see where it's going and I know there are two more books so I'm thinking this is going to be an epic love story. 


Again, I was *thisclose* to firing off an email to the author asking her what in the bloody hell is happening? Mostly because as we've discussed before, I read at night before bed. But I was so close to the end I stayed up well past midnight and then that ending happens and I am waving my fist in the air. The dog mistakenly thought I was like, "let's go pee" and so I'm angry, holding a dog's leash at 12:45 a.m. hoping he pees fast, because it's freezing. Like for real freezing out, and I'm talking to my dog Twinky about this ending. 

Immediately, I had to start book two because what in the mother hell is happening?? 

*word to the wise: buy all 3 books at once. You'll thank me later.*

Come What May - Faith Sullivan
Come What May: (Heartbeat #2)
Adam is through with love. He unravels blaming himself for what happened with Katie. His final moments with her echo through his nightmares. She owns him body and soul. To dull the pain, Adam invites a string of women into his bed. Fueled by alcohol and desperation, his meaningless hook-ups provide little comfort. When he closes his eyes, it's Katie he sees. The only one who helps to ease his guilt somewhat is Jada. But as his new ambulance partner, Adam considers her off limits. He doesn't want to get seriously involved with anyone, much less her. Yet he can't stop fantasizing about the feel of her caramel skin against his. Despite his intentions, Adam's bond with Jada deepens as they respond to a series of emotional calls. Their mutual attraction becomes undeniable. But how can he give his heart to Jada when it still belongs to Katie?

So now I'm confused because is Katie not real? I thought she was real? I find myself re-reading chapters and I'm so stinking confused. These moments of confusion make me think maybe I can't read literature for a living and scrutinize it if I can't even figure out if a character was real or not. This was my issue with Wuthering Heights, once I realized there was two of some people it was like, game over, I'm not that smart. 

But maybe Katie is real and this is like a really bizarre form of post traumatic stress? Jada enters the picture and she's kind of awesome. Adam is being a giant douchebag in this book which is the exact opposite of book one where he was just this little sensitive cuddle bug of love. When he says he's over it, he means it. But dammit if Jada isn't falling for him anyways, albeit reluctantly. Then I get to the point where I don't care if Katie is real or not, Jada is the real deal and Adam needs this in his life. Clearly. 


He finds out that he may or may not be a baby daddy, his brother is unexpectedly getting married, and then oh yes- Adam decides to get high and drive an ambulance. You know, just another Tuesday. 

I'm just getting over this and then? BOMBSHELL ENDING. 

Oh yes, because Katie is real? 


I Am Yours - Faith Sullivan
I Am Yours: (Heartbeat #3)
Adam is at a crossroads. He has Katie on his mind and Jada in his bed. Now with the ultimate choice before him, he must decide between fantasy and reality. Katie's his dream girl, but Jada's his best friend, his partner. As a paramedic, he's supposed to save lives, not wreck them. Yet his failure to commit leaves a trail of heartache in his wake. Things come to a head at his brother's wedding when a surprise announcement leaves Adam scrambling to pick up the pieces. Sure, women find his shaggy blond hair and aquamarine eyes irresistible. But to him, sex is nothing more than a means of escape ... until it turns into a psychological trap. His mind is telling him one thing, while his heart is beating another. He's not sure what he wants when it comes to a serious relationship. Sorting out his feelings, he finally comes to a startling realization. He is capable of love. But what if it's too late?

I am telling you what, I spent one evening on book one. The better portion of a day on book two between taking breaks for mental anguish. Today is day three and I started this before bed last night and forced myself to stop. I finished it this afternoon. My house is a god damn mess right now, and I am sad this series is over but at the same time, THANK GOD because I feel emotionally unstable at this point. If I were a smoker, my lungs would be waving a white flag. 


So now Katie has come back (or has she???), Jada is upset because she finally realizes that oh hello- she loves Adam. Too bad he has been pining over a dead girl this whole time who apparently isn't dead. And he's going to be a father to his brother's fiance's baby and it's just so damn crazy. Jerry Springer couldn't even make this up. So basically, everything is going to hell. 

Katie is just as confused as Adam over their bizarre love connection because she has no recollection of meeting him. Like, at all. He is insistent she has died, which obviously would freak any girl out. Yet they are both having dreams/nightmares about the other and they both feel like this is fate's way of pairing them up. We've got a weirdo pregnant lady, a really pissed off brother, and then poor Jada who is in love with Adam and he could care less and essentially tosses her to the wind. 


Woah- there's a sinister plot involving psychological test subjects, mind control, and declarations of love. 

I feel like when I read Faith Sullivan's book, I should have a blood pressure cuff on me to monitor myself because I can actually feel my blood pressure going up. When I say you have no idea what to expect but you are always going to be blow away? I mean it. She can weave a story like you won't believe. But I was Team Jada the whole time. I really don't like Katie. Or new Katie, whatever. I don't like either of them. 

And Kelly? The pregnant cousin of Katie's?? Can we say PSYCHO? She's nuts. She is several shades of crazy. I can't even comprehend it. It's just too much and I didn't like her from the word go. Thank god Jada also picked up on it because I think between her and Brian (Adam's brother)? They basically saved the day. 

Anyways. I liked the ending! Can I say that without giving it away? I think so. I'm not kidding, I feel like I need a nap after this. I don't know if I even have it in me to cook dinner- I'm that emotionally spent. 

I am highly suggesting these books and I am suggesting you buy all three at once because otherwise the delay is going to really eat at you. Just do it it now. Swearsies. 

Monday, December 30, 2013

Perfect (and giveaway!!)

Here's a book that makes you say... "hmmmmm".

Perfect - Rachel Joyce

A spellbinding novel that will resonate with readers of Mark Haddon, Louise Erdrich, and John Irving, Perfect tells the story of a young boy who is thrown into the murky, difficult realities of the adult world with far-reaching consequences.
Byron Hemmings wakes to a morning that looks like any other: his school uniform draped over his wooden desk chair, his sister arguing over the breakfast cereal, the click of his mother’s heels as she crosses the kitchen. But when the three of them leave home, driving into a dense summer fog, the morning takes an unmistakable turn. In one terrible moment, something happens, something completely unexpected and at odds with life as Byron understands it. While his mother seems not to have noticed, eleven-year-old Byron understands that from now on nothing can be the same.
What happened and who is to blame? Over the days and weeks that follow, Byron’s perfect world is shattered. Unable to trust his parents, he confides in his best friend, James, and together they concoct a plan. . . .
As she did in her debut, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Rachel Joyce has imagined bewitching characters who find their ordinary lives unexpectedly thrown into chaos, who learn that there are times when children must become parents to their parents, and who discover that in confronting the hard truths about their pasts, they will forge unexpected relationships that have profound and surprising impacts. Brimming with love, forgiveness, and redemption, Perfect will cement Rachel Joyce’s reputation as one of fiction’s brightest talents.
I'm going to put this up there with one of the strangest books I've ever read. Normally I write my review right after I finish a book while things are still fresh in my mind, but I had to wait on this one. Mostly because I was left with what I would assume is a question mark on my face. 
Let's give you the quick and dirty. It starts in 1972, England. Byron and his friend James worry about a news report saying that in order to fix time essentially, they are adding two seconds to one day, one time. These highly intelligent boys fret about this and all of a sudden- Byron believes he sees this two seconds. But in the course of this two seconds, just as he worried something would happen, something does happen. An accident that propels all of the characters into chaos. Byron is worried for his mother, his father is clueless, his mother has buried secrets and combine that with the accident she's off in la-la land, and James? James is kind of a peculiar person. 
The book flip flops between the past and the present. The present being James, not coping well with life and his obvious OCD, among other issues. He had been institutionalized for years and it's heart breaking to know what institutions in the 70's and 80's were like and then to read about what his life is like now, it terrible. 
And every body's lives are all connected because of two seconds. That's all that it takes. 
Overall, the book is strange. You feel for characters, the story pulls at you and you won't be able to put it down. You suspect the ending, but the author goes a different route and it's fitting. It's not what you would expect but in the end, it's what was needed. Some of the dialogue is a bit strange, and there is some French thrown in there so I'll be honest- I have no idea what I read for sentences in some paragraphs, but it's OK. It's not to the point where you don't know what's going on, it's just strange that it's included. 
But man- the mother? Wow. I can't really tell you what happens because that basically ruins the second half of the book for you, but damn. I felt kind of terrible for her. It kind of makes you think if she had remained blissfully unaware- what would have happened? You just don't know. 
I do suggest you read it only because I found it to be so odd that you end up liking it. Definitely different from what I would normally read, but in a good way. It's not the type of book I would gush about and recommend and buy randomly for people. But it's the kind of book that keeps you thinking about long afterwards. 
If YOU want to win a copy (US/Canada only), leave me a comment on this post! I'll draw a winner on Friday, January 3. Please be sure to have your email in the comment so I can contact you easily. Good luck!!

Friday, December 27, 2013

First Position

I hope you all had an awesome Christmas. I have lots of pictures to share and stories of course, but I have a book review for you right now. And no, the title doesn't refer to a sexual thing- it's a ballet thing. But there is sex. So, best of both worlds?

First Position - Prescott Lane
{Virtual Book Tour} Pump Up Your Book Presents First Position Virtual Book Publicity Tour

Emory faces life’s challenges at the one place that never failed her, the ballet barre. But even the barre can’t steady her when fate brings her face-to-face with her old college flame, Mason, who’s hoping to return to the NFL after a career-threatening injury. Before they can surrender to their sexual desires and find salvation in each other’s arms, they need to come to terms with their past. Mason must confront the demons that have set him on a path of self-destruction, while Emory must decide whether to keep her painful secrets locked away, or expose them and risk losing the love of her life. But nothing can prepare Mason for what Emory has kept hidden, or the possibility that he himself may be to blame for the very secrets she keeps and why they continue to haunt her. 

Purchase your copy at AMAZON 
Discuss this book in our PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads by clicking HERE 

I'm just going to start by saying I really liked this book. I'll be honest- there are some religious aspects to it, but if you aren't into that (like me), you won't be turned off. They aren't all over the place and you'll be fine. 

I really want to tell you what Emory's big secret is but I can't because it will absolutely ruin it for you. Totally ruin it. But let's just say- her hesitancy about sex makes absolute sense once you get to the end. She makes the comment that the only person who ever hurt her was herself and you're left wondering what the hell that means, but once you get to the end and you learn of her secret, it all comes together. You see how she blames herself and then you realize why she is the way she is at that point in her life. Totally makes sense. 

I'll just say it- I loved Mason. He's kind of a self centered moron who finally gets that he was a self centered moron, and that's just the best. He makes real strides to do better for Emory than he did in college and his decisions are thought out, if not flawed. I also LOVED his mother. Sure, she's meddling and she wants the wrong things for him for the wrong reasons. But she calls another woman a cunt in a really epic smack down and I thought- bravo to this author for going there. For going there, and going all the way. Anything less would have felt contrived. You get the sense that the mother is a true Southern mother and she isn't afraid to lay the law down when it's needed but that she also always knows what's going on. 

Without giving too much away, I would have really loved an Alexis versus Emory showdown. You don't get one, and it doesn't ruin the book, but it could have been great. You're shaking your fist at Alexis the whole time because she's clearly a terrible person, but in her final meeting with Mason- you almost feel sorry for him. You get the impression she actually loved him but could never come up to the standard Mason set with Emory. To live in another woman's shadow is rough, and so I felt sorry for her. For like a nanosecond, but it was still there. 

Oh! And Wesley. I loved Emory's gay room mate, Wesley. He's like the gay friend you wish you had. I also loved at one point in the book where Emory, Olivia, and Wesley are with Mason's mom and they are all ribbing the mom. Her response that she's not above a homosexual hate crime, cracked me up. Which it shouldn't because hate crimes are bad and wrong. But you could almost picture Wesley's face and know that the point came across to him. 

Overall? I'd give this one 4/5 stars. I flew through it, it had romance, it had sex without being vulgar (if you like vulgar, you'll be disappointed), it had thoughtful relationships and the dialogue didn't make you want to roll your eyes. It also had just enough humor to make it almost feel like a novel by Dorothea Benton Frank. Which is huge, because I really like her too. So if you are looking for a solid romance that isn't over the top with ball gags, this is a good fit for you. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Seduction of Miriam Cross (GIVEAWAY

It's crunch time! I've got lots of reviews coming up so expect to see these popping up in your feed the next few weeks!

The Seduction of Miriam Cross - W.A. Tyson
The Seduction of Miriam Cross
A sordid sex tape.
A venture capital firm.
A secret society of women.
A Catholic nun.
Miriam Cross, author, feminist and philanthropist, disappears from her Philadelphia home.  A year later, a lonely recluse named Emily Cray is brutally murdered in her bed in a small Pennsylvania town.
 The police discover that Emily Cray and Miriam Cross were one and the same, but if they know who killed Miriam, they’re not sharing.  Miriam’s niece wants answers.  She turns to the one woman she knows she can trust – private investigator Delilah Percy Powers.
As Delilah and her staff of female detectives – a militant homemaker, an ex-headmistress and a former stripper – delve into Miriam’s life, they become submerged in an underworld of unfathomable cruelty and greed with implications that go far beyond the gruesome death of one woman or the boundaries of one country.  Eventually Miriam’s fight for justice becomes Delilah’s own . . . and Delilah’s obsession with finding the truth may prove just as deadly.
You really shouldn't judge a book by its cover because this cover is terrible but this book is really great. I have seen it pegged as a romance/suspense novel and for me, it's not that at all. It's more thriller/suspense because the romance element isn't huge and it's not at all what you expect for romance. So go into it knowing that. 
Second, this book was all over the map because whereas I can typically figure out the twists and turns- not at all the case in this one. Well written, complex and complicated, this one was hard to put down. The basics of it is that Miriam gets murdered. She's beheaded, and while that's awful, the entire thing is seemingly being covered up. Enter Delilah and her bizarre crew of private detectives. I can tell this is likely going to turn into a series because each detective is complicated and while you learn a little about them, you're kind of left wanting more. Delilah herself is kind of a mess, what I would call a controlled, refined mess. Instead of grieving the loss of her fiance, she is instead throwing herself totally into her private investigator agency. 
The crew of detectives are trying to figure out what really happened with Miriam but none of the puzzle pieces really click together towards the end. And holy buckets- it's kind of a sordid tale. I did like the book, and I found myself enjoying it far later than I should have because I have early days this entire week. My only complaint is that I feel like so much time is spent sorting clues, talking about things, that at the end- I sat there thinking, well duh. All of that, and this is it? I wanted a big bang. There is a bang at the end and people die but I expected it to have more of a punch. 
Admittedly, when I got to the end I was exhausted and maybe some of the flair was lost because I could barely stay awake. 
With that said, I did like this book. I am excited to see what comes next for Delilah and her crew. Does Anders stay on (you'll have to read to find out who that is), what about Natasha? She seems a bit of a loose canon. I don't know how I feel about Barb/Margot. Maybe if we got more of their story I would be more interested... but maybe that's for the next book?
The good news, as an early Christmas present to yourself, you can enter to win a copy! Leave a comment on this blog post (include your email address) to win! Drawing will be held on Friday, December 20. US/Canada only, please!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Secrets & Lies

Hello, Lambs! It's time for a book review and it's Friday the 13th. Woah.

Secrets & Lies - Christine Armsden
Secrets and Lies

Cassie Scot,still stinging from her parents’ betrayal, wants out of the magical world. But it isn’t letting her go. Her family is falling apart and despite everything, it looks like she may be the only one who can save them.

To complicate matters, Cassie owes Evan her life, making it difficult for her to deny him anything he really wants. And he wants her. Sparks fly when they team up to find two girls missing from summer camp, but long-buried secrets may ruin their hopes for happiness. Book 2 in the Cassie Scot Mystery series.

I had completely forgotten that I read the first one until I got this one, and then I was reminded on how much I liked the first one. Which is always a nice bonus. Basically, Cassie is from a magical family- except she has no magic. Nobody knows why, but this lack of magic essentially gets her disowned from her family because she's a liability basically. But that leaves her unprotected in a town of dangerous people with varying degrees of magic, so Evan saves her and now she owes him a life debt. Evan is her friend from when they were really young. The kicker twist is that with the life debt, she basically has to do whatever he tells her to even if it's against her will. Evan isn't a jerk though and you know that he does love her- except she doesn't believe that because she thinks the life debt is clouding things and that he has a hidden agenda.

Then all hell breaks loose because two girls go missing from camp and everything is indicating foul play with magic.  Then in the entire midst of this, Cassie is fighting feelings that she doesn't know if they are even real or not. She sees a seer who basically tells her "he will break her heart and soul" and in hindsight- I wonder if the seer means Evan or someone else? Because as pointed out in the book, the confession of a seer isn't always what you think it means, basically it's like a riddle. After I finished the book, I'm torn whether I want her to be with Evan or not. You get a confession from her mother, which explains a lot, but then her father confesses something else to Evan and it's a game changer. I'll be interested to see how the author wraps it up in book 3 Mind Games, when that comes out next year.


I faced my former father for the first time since he had announced his intention to disown me. He looked just as he always had, with straight dark hair, brown eyes, a long, angular face, and a wide, curving mouth – curving downward into a frown, that is.

If Victor was the last person I had expected to see in the diner that morning, then my former father was the last person I wanted to see. Even now, with Victor explaining my part in his unusual scheme for revenge, I didn’t want my former father nearby. I didn’t want his help. I only hoped Nicolas and Juliana hadn’t broken their promise and told him about the life debt, or I would never hear the end of it.

The air crackled with visible tension. Sparks of shimmering red fire danced around my father’s head. Behind the counter, Mrs. Meyers twisted her hands together anxiously, as if afraid her diner might burn down. Her fears were not unjustified.
I stepped boldly between them, facing my father. “What are you doing here?“

“We need to talk,“ he said.

“I have nothing to say to you. You disowned me, remember?“

The color seemed to drain from his face as he stared past me, at his oldest enemy.
Victor raised his water glass in a mock toast. “I’ve known for some time. If it makes you feel any worse, so does everyone else in town who hasn’t been asleep for a week. Or at least, they guess.“

“I don’t care what you think you know. Stay away from my daughter.“With that, he grabbed my arm with a hand hot enough to leave a reddened imprint on my skin, and dragged me through the kitchen to the employee room at the back. Only then did he release my injured forearm.

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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Dogs masturbate. <-- life lesson.

So the other day I posted a short video on Instagram of Twinky essentially humping a stuffed dog. He is not neutered yet, but he will be once Christmas is over and I can afford it. But since we got him back in July, it actually hasn't been a problem. Once, months ago, he tried to hump this same dog and he clearly was inexperienced.

But now that he has gotten a little bigger, and clearly practices a lot when we are gone, things have come to a new low. Or high, depending on who you are in this house. The only thing I can be appreciative of is that at least he isn't humping our legs, it's just this particular stuffed dog.

OK- and he occasionally tries to sit on our only girl cat's face. Poor Lola has resorted to just laying there and taking it. It's like they are a married couple or something.

The worst part about this is trying to explain it to the kids. I think Olivia knows what's going on because she made the comment that it's a good thing the stuffed dog can't have puppies. I chose silence as the appropriate response here because anything else would have prompted a larger conversation about sex and reproduction than I was willing to have with an eight year old right now. Jackson response has been a bit more animated. The first time he saw it he just stared. The second time he saw it, he tried to take the stuffed dog away but Twinky growled at him so he dropped it. The third time he saw it he started crying and wondered why our dog was broken.

Keep in mind that all three of these times happened within one hour.

Twinky is a machine. But he's a sensitive machine because he will snuggle with the stuffed dog, lick it, hump it like mad, sometimes lick it again, and then walk away for awhile. Then he comes back with a vengeance.

Matt says we should discourage this but I say, if we take the stuffed animal away he'll start on our leg. I'd rather have a sex toy on the floor than be a sex toy.

Then someone who has a sibling of Twinky says that even after her dog was neutered, it has not slowed his roll. Basically- I believe my dog is a chronic mastubater.

Because why wouldn't he be??

The Howling Heart

I'm just going to tell you right now- don't be alarmed by my review. It might scare you, it might freak you out, but I'm telling you right now that if you like romance- just do it and feel the feels like I did. 

The Howling Heart
Paige Donovan is an ambitious college graduate who aspires to reach the top of the corporate ladder. She’s climbing fast when given the promotion of a lifetime at a prestigious fashion magazine in New York City. Her bright future comes to an unexpected halt after news of her father’s death. She inherits his old cabin in the Colorado Rockies, and just when she thinks her luck couldn’t get any worse, she has a car accident in the mountains and awakens in the small, remote community of Black River.
Soon, she’s engulfed in the mystical world of Varulv—wolves descended from 13th century Scandinavia and blessed by Norse gods with the ability to appear human. Paige is desperate to return home, but never expects to fall for her rescuer, Riley Gray, a charming young werewolf from England who offers her an alternate future with his pack.
Now, she must choose between the career she’s always wanted and the love she’s always dreamed.
I know you want me to talk about why this got weird for me, but I'm going to tell you upfront that I loved this book. The main issue I have is that the relationship between Paige and Riley seemed to happen fast and there could have been more between them. While I understand why we don't have more sexy times in the book because Riley (a shifting werewolf) wants to make Paige (a human) his mate and in order to do they have a ceremony and they mate and he bites her, etc. I'm not saying there aren't any sexy times, because there are, they just aren't happening left in right like a traditional romance would have. So it feels a little rushed and I kind of get it. Riley has been in love with Paige since they were children and their brief encounter and she dreams of the boy that she met in the woods, but she doesn't know the wolf and the boy are the same. 
So now let's talk about where it gets weird. I know the exact point in which some readers are going to be like, "Oh this is too damn much" and quit the book. But don't do that. I should have known it might get weird when Riley has the conversation with Paige where he asks her if she would still love him if he was a wolf, and he couldn't change back. This is not a spoiler, settle down, but it's like how you'd ask your spouse "Would you still love me if I were.... paralyzed" or whatever. Kind of. Anyways. So there is a point where I thought, oh shit- we're going to have girl and wolf sexy times, aren't we? And am I mentally ready to read this? Am I going to freak out? Keep in mind I'm reading this at midnight, I'm the only one awake so I can't even talk it out with someone, and lambs- it was a tough moment. So that right there might scare enough of you were you rule this book out and I wish that you wouldn't. It's not like I'm trying to sell you on dinosaur erotica because this isn't anywhere near that and I'm telling you, without spoiling it, that you don't need to panic. It's going to be OK and you won't feel scarred in anyway. 
In fact, I think you are going to like it. 
Can we talk about the ending? I hate it. That's not what I want for Riley. I feel like Paige needs to not be a jerk and maybe think about poor Riley. He's a freaking wolf- this is a terrible solution. So I sincerely hope there is a book two so Paige can come to her damn senses but also so we can learn more about Riley and Paige's relationship because I kind of love Riley. Have I mentioned he's British? He's a British shifter. EEK. So adorable. Anyways. 
You should visit April's webpage because she does have other books and her Goodreads page, too. I want you to read this, then email me and we'll talk it out together. Because I want you to read it so we can bond over this. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Haven (and GIVEAWAY!)

GAH! I'm so excited. OK, so I'm a big Laury Falter fan anyways, so when an opportunity came up to review her new book I jumped at it, no questions asked. I didn't even look at the book description- I just signed up and was pleasantly surprised that I was about to read my first apocalypse book involving zombies. WIN.

Haven - Laury Falter
Haven -LauryFalter-600x900
On an ordinary day in early September, Kennedy Shaw leaves for school unaware that within a few minutes the world she knows will be gone – succumbed to an outbreak of epidemic proportions. After finding a safe haven inside the security of her enclosed high school, she learns that four others have survived, one being a bold, mysterious transfer student from Texas whose unruffled demeanor harbors more than a cool interest in her. As they struggle to survive the dead fighting their way inside, will Kennedy discover there is more to life than survival? And will she and the others find a way to live in this terrifying new world?

This is a YA novel and it's about the end of the world because of zombies. You have your super strong female character who can shoot guns and throw Japanese throwing stars (Kennedy), you have the transfer student who is a little bit off but you don't know why (Harrison), and you have a cast of three other students they are essentially trapped inside of their high school with because zombies are eating people right outside. It's probably the worst school day you could have. And then of course,  you get a romance story with Kennedy and Harrison which reminded me so much of the movie Warm Bodies which I absolutely loved and I don't care what anyone says. 

This is an incredibly fast read- I did this in one evening after dinner and finished up right at bed time. I just really enjoy Laury's books because you get sucked right in. She doesn't add extra fluff, you're trying to figure out what the heck is going on and I appreciate that everything is part of a series. So this book is the first in the Apocalypse Chronicles and I'm already awaiting the next one because there is a HUGE cliff hanger at the end of this one. 

You guys know I'm picky about my characters and Laury never disappoints. I loved Kennedy. I thought at first with her being a moody teenager I'd hate her but it turns out I love her. She isn't dramatic- she is very smart, she's intentional, she's thoughtful, and she is very level headed. She isn't the girl that is going to freak out, and she knows exactly the implications of what is happening outside of the doors. She's meticulous and she is able to see things from every angle. She also has dreams that are very much premonitions. At what point will she learn that she can change an outcome by doing the opposite of her dream? I don't know, but I hope she does it in book two considering the cliff hanger at the end of this one. 

Then you have Harrison. I kind of adore Harrison. He's terrified of what he is, though he doesn't really know. None of them really understand but they also don't know what it means for the situation outside. Then you have your geeky girl, the athletic boy, and the drama queen thrown in with them and it's like perfect casting to round out the book. You can tell that this was the book that sets everything up in the next ones. You get the basic information of what is happening, you learn the strengths/weaknesses of everyone and you're able to really think about where this could go. 

And it's pretty freaking amazing. 

Again, I'm such a fan of Laury and if you are looking for something that will suck you in- you need to read her stuff. Truly- I would not steer you wrong. You can buy this for Kindle, Nook and everything else. Laury also has a website, Facebook, and Goodreads

But one of YOU lucky lambs can win a DIGITAL copy of this book! WOOT. All you need to do is leave a comment on this post and follow me on Bloglovin (see button below) and I'll draw a winner this Friday, December 13. Good luck!

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Sunday, December 8, 2013


Lambs. Good lord, lambs. You need to just add this author to your favorite list of everything because she is kind of amazing and I need her to never stop writing. This series also cannot be done with Rome- there are other boys in this group that need love as well. Get crackin' Jay. *psh, psh* (That? That is my attempt at the sound of a whip in written form.)

Jet - Jay Crownover
With his tight leather pants and a sharp edge that makes him dangerous, Jet Keller is every girl’s rock and roll fantasy. But Ayden Cross is done walking on the wild side with bad boys. She doesn’t want to give in to the heat she sees in Jet’s dark, haunted eyes. She’s afraid of getting burned from the sparks of their spontaneous combustion, even as his touch sets her on fire.
Jet can’t resist the Southern Belle with mile-long legs in cowboy boots who defies his every expectation. Yet the closer he feels to Ayden, the less he seems to know her. While he’s tempted to get under her skin and undo her in every way, he knows firsthand what happens to two people with very different ideas about relationships.
Will the blaze burn into an enduring love. . . or will it consume their dreams and turn them to ashes?
GOOD LORD. I have already read and reviewed the first book in this series, Rule, and it was really great. Then I got this one and squealed so loud that my dog Twinky piddled himself in the kitchen and Stumpy the cat knocked the water dish over. When animals go wild, things get serious. But this book did not disappoint. 
We have Jet, with his too tight pants, tattoos, and piercings. Then we have Ayden who appears to be a textbook good girl but as it turns out she is anything but. They are both conflicted about themselves being in a relationship and they both have all kinds of personal shit happening and then you combine it and BOOM, you have a really great New Adult romance novel that makes you think maybe you should have spent more time in questionable bars and tattoo parlors if this is the kind of guy you could have ended up with. 
And maybe it's just me thinking that, but it doesn't matter because it's awesome and amazing. 
The only thing that made me feel a little stabby was Ayden. Ayden is kind of... a moron. I mean, she's naive but she isn't, if that makes sense. She knows what she feels for Jet but she cannot figure out that he feels the same. She tries to deny what she feels and convince herself that it's not a big deal and that it's just a passing thing and it's like no. You are a moron and stop being so stupid and just bang the boy already. So then she does bang the boy and even still- she's being a moron. And you know there is little else I can't stand in a book than a female character being so self involved and stupid. Jet, for his part, is a little more reserved with love and such but he has had a really terrible example to follow with his douchebag dad and emotional bag of useless for a mother. So I mean, I get that. I get it coming from him. And while Ayden clearly doesn't have the childhood that's worth anything either, someone I expect more from her.  Which is probably sexist in some way but it's a book and I can say that so there. 
I ended up LOVING this book regardless. Why? Because when Ayden finally gets it? She is all in. It's like she throws all caution to the wind and jumps head first and you're left wondering why the hell didn't she just do that in the first place? Good grief. And they are just a really great fit. By the end of the book it's like a well oiled machine and you can totally see why they are a good match together. 
And to say I'm eagerly anticipating the third book, Rome, is a total understatement. I WANT IT NOW. I seriously hope I'm on that tour because if  not I'm going to be bummed. I am such a fan of Jay Crownover, you will not be disappointed. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Bride Stripped Bare

So as of right now, I'm hip deep (literally) in snow-mageddon right now so I've gotten a lot of reading done. Seriously though, the snow? It can stop. I understand I live in northern Wisconsin and this is kind of the thing here but sheeeit. It can stop. I'm over it. A ski hill has closed because of too much snow. Just re-read that sentence and you'll understand my plight. Anyways. 

The Bride Stripped Bare - Nikki Gemmell

The Bride Stripped Bare
A woman disappears, leaving behind an incendiary diary chronicling a journey of sexual awakening. To all who knew her, she was the good wife: happy, devoted, content. But the diary reveals a secret self, one who’s discovered that her new marriage contains mysteries of its own. She has discovered a forgotten Elizabethan manuscript that dares to speak of what women truly desire, and inspired by its revelations, she tastes for the first time the intoxicating power of knowing what she wants and how to get it. The question is: How long can she sustain a perilous double life?

So, I get to review this one as a preview to her new book which is coming soon. Which is really great because WOW. First off, there aren't chapters- this book is comprised of "lessons". It's essentially a diary of her life as a newlywed. She marries for reliability, essentially, instead of passion. But what happens is she realizes that there is more to life than this and begins a dangerous journey into leading a whole other life. 

But here's the thing: I'm torn. First off, the narrative is really great. It's second person narrative, it's written really well  and you really do feel like you are reading someone's dirty diary. So that's good. But while I wanted to like our main character- I can't. And guys, I tried. I tried really hard. I totally get her complaints with her husband- a lot of us married a guy we knew maybe wasn't everything we wanted and didn't sweep us off our feet, but they were steady and reliable. You just figured with time it would be fine and shit- nobody gets swept off her feet forever. Lust fades, right? Yes, yes it does. But what kills me is that she's kind of filthy. I was plugging along alright until I get to a scene that involves pretty much an orgy with dirty cab drivers. Now, I don't want to go into it, but I pictured the cab drivers I've experienced and it's foul. I've never met a clean, decent smelling cab driver. Never, ever. So I'm picturing that times a bunch and ew. Just ew all around- could not even enjoy the erotica portion of it because I'm picturing fat, dirty, smelly cab drivers. 

That's the other thing- it's not really erotica? I mean, I see the parts where it's supposed to go there but it just doesn't go all the way (snicker). At the end of the day, it's a book about a woman who just cheats on her husband a lot, but doesn't really want to and that doesn't make sense, and you're left at the end wondering what in the hell you just read. 

And yes- I said "wow" at the beginning of this review because it can only go up from here, right? This is the first book, so I feel like with time and practice- the other two I'm reviewing just have to be better. But. I wouldn't discredit this book outright. If you are a fan of a literary journey, which is what this really feels like, and second person narrative? Win. Win all day, up and down, you will like it. For that reason alone, I'd give it 2/5 stars. I want to give it more but the fact I wanted to punch the lead character for most of the book.....can't. I just can't give it more. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Save Magic City- Book Blast

About the Author:
Rocsanne Shield was born in Romania and traveled widely before settling in Canada. She spends her time among the flowers in her garden or at the computer writing more fantastic stories.
You may visit her website at http://www.medievalhearts.com, where you can meet her other heroes and heroines.

About the Book:
Title: Save Magic City

Genre: Children’s Fantasy

Author: Rocsanne Shield

Publisher: iUniverse

Pages: 304

Language: English

ISBN – 978-1-45026-484-6

Hurled into the time flow by a banishing spell, 13th century Edmund lands into the USA, 2007, in answer to Leona’s fervent prayers for help to save her town.

The corporation employing the townspeople has left, the bank foreclosures have created whole streets of empty houses, people are leaving in droves… the town is slowly dying.

A black magician in his old time, Edmund is forbidden to do any magic if it is not for helping other people. He discovers and is fascinated by the magical powers of Internet and wants to bring instant relief to the townspeople, but Leona, who does not trust their dependency on magic, forbids him to do so.

Leo, Leona’s adoptive son, and his friends, Squirrel and Raccoon, accept the magic with enthusiasm and do their best to help the town to survive.

When misfortune strikes, Leona gives her blessing for Edmund to use his magic.

Purchase Your Copy Here

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

It's like Oprah's Favorite Things, but you get none of it.

First of all, I forgot to draw a winner for the Color of Light book giveaway on Friday. Once you hear about my Thanksgiving/Black Friday shopping extravaganza, you'll understand why I avoided my laptop all weekend basically. To say I was exhausted is an understatement. Secondly, how disgusting is the fact that only SEVEN of you entered to win this book. Seriously. That's terrible. Your odds of winning here are pretty damn high and it's an amazing book.

The winner ended up being #5 Sunshine, so now she can gloat on how awesome her prize is.


Let us talk about the things I want for Christmas. I also refer to this as Sara's Favorite Things, kind of, because they are amazing and you'd want them to. I'm sure. But because I'm not a billionaire, I shall be giving nothing out for free. You can only hope I get these for Christmas and you can live vicariously through me.

1. Really awesome blanket from Barnes and Noble.
 As far as I know, you cannot buy this baby online. Trust me, I looked. I looked for a long time on their website last year because I bought one for my friend and thought I'd just get my own later. Well then they sold the hell out and I was sad. Big sad face. But it's back in stock in the Duluth store, and I want the gray one. It's just a really nice blanket with quotes from good books.

2. This Coach Perfume.
I am, apparently, known for smelling good. Jackson loves to sniff me. Like, a lot. He's kind of like a dog in that way- he really likes to sniff me. Anyways. So I saw this one and decided that the pretty jar and the pretty box deserved to be smelled so I of course, sprayed it all over myself indiscriminately. Then I realized how amazing it was and I found myself walking through Ulta sniffing myself like a weirdo and actually contemplating licking my own arm. Until of course, someone noticed and I had to pretend it's totally normal to almost lick your own arm.

3. New Winter Boots
I need boots I can shovel in and not get pissy that oh hey- these are doing nothing for warmth, but they sure are cute, like the ones I have now. I'm a size 8. Or a 7.5 but with thick socks I'm an 8.

4. This super pretty necklace.
Turquoise Jewelry , Bib Necklace , Bubble Statement Necklace , Bridesmaid Gift -Mermaid Necklace ,beadwork  Beaded Jewelry
I mean, really? How gorgeous is this??

5. Nintendo 3DS. Or a Wii.
Because seriously- I miss playing Super Mario Bros. I'd rather have a 3DS but I wouldn't scoff at a used 2DS. Olivia is getting a brand new one and don't think I haven't been tempted to test it out. I stood in Best Buy for almost an hour playing the demo version of Mario Kart.

6. Books. Seriously. There are hundreds that I want, but I would settle for:

  • Christina Lauren's Beautiful Bastard series. 
  • Lora Leigh's Wounded Warriors series.
  • Tiffany Reisz's The Original Sinners series.
  • Alyson Noel's The Immortals series. 
  • Allison Winn Scotch The Theory of Opposites
  • Or basically on my To Read list. 
  • Or a Barnes & Noble gift card because I am anti-Amazon. 
7. iTunes gift cards. My list of songs/albums I want to buy is really getting long. 

8. A new kitchen knife set. Seriously- if you saw what I'm cutting with, you'd wonder how any of my fingers are intact. Cutting lettuce has become difficult. 

9. Socks. Except I like socks in black/gray/white/beige. Not all on one sock, but for work I either wear black/gray or white/beige. Always. Sometimes I get crazy and wear blue striped socks but I like socks. 
Merona® Women's 3-Pack Preppy Crew Socks Collection
10. Gift cards from Michaels and/or Home Depot. Laugh all you want, but I like knowing I have something to spend when I'm broke. Plus I always have house projects going on, and lord knows I like to be crafty. 

Sherlock Holmes book scarf in petrol blue and white
Sit here and say this isn't amazing and we are no longer friends. 

Dracula Quote Scarf // Bram Stoker's Dracula // Knit Jersey Raw Edged Scarf
13. I think we all agree I need this in my life. I'm a size XL in ladies fit, L in mens. Win. 
Love this!!
14. I cannot find it anywhere, but there is a Yankee Candle called "Fruit Punch" that is orange and it smells like god damn Kool Aid and it is delicious. WANT. 

15. Smarties. Smarties anything, but the lollies. Good lord I love these. 
Smarties<sup>®</sup> Mega Lollies

I can eat these until I throw up and I will still go back for more. Even when I cannot feel my tongue and I think I burned it from too much sugar, I will continue to eat them. I cannot help myself, it's terrible. 

Honestly- I love anything I get. Except things that are meant to be funny. Sometimes I get joke type things and I just get annoyed because I'm like- what the fuck? Did you seriously waste money on this shit? Good lord. But for the most part, I like anything. I love Christmas, I like opening things, and I like getting mail. Everything about the month of December is a win for me. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Into the Crossfire

Lambs. I have so much to update you on, posts in progress, all of it. But first I have a book review for a series and you know I'm such a slut for a series. I cannot even help myself.

Into the Fire - Cindy McDonald
Into the Crossfire (First Force)
It has been four years since ex-Navy SEAL Jack Haliday, had an explosive run-in with a biker gang, wounding their leader, Gunner. During those years, Jack had acquired everything he ever wanted: a beautiful wife, daughter, and a lovely home in the suburbs--everything was just about as perfect as it could get, until Gunner returned to twist Jack's world inside-out with a vengeance that he could never have prepared for. Now Jack has a score to settle and he's got some friends to help him do it.

I'll be honest- I said I would review this because it's the first in a series AND it involves Navy SEAL's. Yum. Double yum. Thankfully, I wasn't disappointed at all and it was a great read. I'll also be honest- I thought this was going to be a romance and considering what happens to Jack's wife- it would have been terrible and totally not believable at all. 

And can I just say? I love the characters. I love them all, I love how well Cindy developed them in this story without you thinking, "Oh just shut up already", it's just enough. It sets up the series, it leaves you wondering where the series is going to go, are we just going to focus on Jack, or will we learn more about the other First Force members, or what about Dr. Rayne Lee? I think the second book is set up to be "her" book, but who knows. I thought this was going to be just Jack but the author pulls a little bit of everyone into it. 


This is basically the story of Jack, who pissed off a really bad guy. He thought after four years he was in the clear but oh no- not even close. I can't tell you the big comeback moment because it ruins a big part of the book. But, BIG THING HAPPENS, and it sets the rest of the characters in motion. Reeling from BIG THING, Jack is injured and damned if he's going to let the bad guy win. But because he's injured others are basically doing the leg work trying to figure out who did it, all of the players involved, and more information on where said players now are. Well bad guys figure out that oh hey- Jack is still alive, so they come after him. Then there is a big deal at the end and along the way we have human trafficking, a bad cop, a doctor who clearly  has some form of PTSD and a little girl. All of that, happening within 360-some pages.

I really loved this book. I am super excited for the rest of the series. This was hard to put down and I finished it in mere hours. Totally worth the wasted weekend afternoon when I should have been baking! 

Monday, November 25, 2013


Woo. Grab yourself some batteries and a towel. You'll thank me later, ladies.

Foreplay - Sophie Jordan
Pepper has been hopelessly in love with her best friend’s brother, Hunter, for, like, ever. He’s the key to everything she’s always craved: security, stability, family. But she needs Hunter to notice her as more than just a friend. Even though she’s kissed exactly one guy, she has the perfect plan to go from novice to rock star in the bedroom: take a few pointers from someone who knows what he’s doing.
Her college roommates have the perfect teacher in mind. But bartender Reece is nothing like the player Pepper expects. Yes, he’s beyond gorgeous, but he’s also dangerous and deep—with a troubled past. Soon what started as a lesson in attraction is turning both their worlds upside down, and showing them just what can happen when you go past foreplay and get to what’s real. . . .
Foreplay is the first New Adult novel by Sophie Jordan and Book One in her Ivy Chronicles series.
LAMBS. You know how I tell you when I'm excited I will bounce in my chair? I'm bouncing. I'm on the verge of busting my couch bouncing. 
First off, this is "new adult" and I still don't know what the hell that means. But to me, this is romance. Reece woos her and she doesn't even know it. Pepper is so unrealistic on what she thinks love should be to the point she's denying the spark she clearly feels for Reece. She wants the slow and steady of Hunter but who the hell wants that? I'd take spark and electricity over slow and steady any day. 
I whipped through this book in a matter of hours. I loved the back and forth of Pepper trying to deny what is inevitable. I loved Reece and his damaged soul and I'm a fixer. I pick guys who have issues and I try to fix and Reece is that guy you want to fix. Never mind the whole premise of Reece and Pepper starting out is she wants to get tips on foreplay. Poor girl is a virgin, never even had a boyfriend, so her moron friend tells her to go to a bar and hit on the hottie bartender. So she does and what happens... whoa. 
Let me just say that if mere hours after meeting a guy he takes me to a room to undress? I would die of mortification. Points to Pepper for going forth because I would probably pee. Pee right in front of the hottie bartender like the mess I am. HA! And you know what I thought of? The entire time I'm picture Channing Tatum as Reece and that will never hurt a book. 
Overall? Solid romance. It's the steady, typical story line but it's so good. This would be an absolutely great present for your friend for Christmas. Maybe even tie some batteries to it. 

The Color of Light GIVEAWAY

Oh lovies. I cannot even tell you how much I loved my book. Seriously. Just buy it. Right now.

The Color of Light - Helen Maryles Shankman

NEW YORK CITY, 1992. At the American Academy of Classical Art, popular opinion has it that the school’s handsome and mysterious founder, Raphael Sinclair, is a vampire. It is a rumor Rafe does nothing to dispel.
Scholarship student Tessa Moss has long dreamed of the chance to study at Rafe’s Academy. But she is floundering amidst the ups and downs of a relationship with egotistical art star Lucian Swain. Then, one of Tessa’s sketches catches Rafe’s attention: a drawing of a young woman in 1930s clothing who is covering the eyes of a child. The suitcase at her feet says Wizotsky. Sofia Wizotsky, the love of Rafe’s life, was lost during the Holocaust.
Or was she? Rafe suspects Tessa may be the key to discovering what really happened. As Rafe finds excuses to interact with Tessa, they cannot deny their growing attraction to one another. It is an attraction forbidden by the Academy Board and disapproved of by anyone familiar with Rafe’s playboy reputation and Tessa’s softhearted innocence.
But Tessa senses the truth: despite his wealth, his women, and his townhouse filled with rare and beautiful treasures, Rafe is a haunted man…for reasons that have nothing to do with the rumors they whisper about him at school. Intensely romantic and deeply moving, The Color of Light blends fact and fantasy in an unforgettable tale of art and passion, love and war, guilt and forgiveness, spanning the New York art scene, high-fashion magazine publishing, the glittering café society of pre-World War II Paris, and the evil stalking the back roads of Nazi-occupied Europe.
What can I say? I agreed to review this book solely on the cover. Maybe I shouldn't say that because you shouldn't judge a book by its cover but I did because it just pulled at me. Something about this cover moves me. It's haunting, it's lonely, it's romantic, it's wistful, it makes your heart feel. 
Then you read it. I cannot even tell you how much I loved this book. My heart hurts for Rafe. Something about him just pulls at me and it's not his lonely existence as a vampire. It's something else about him and if this were real, I'd be pulled by him. And isn't that what you want for a male lead in a book? 
Admittedly, I don't normally like historical books but this one is lovely. It's so well written, it's so sad and you feel like these people are your family. And let's talk about the art aspect- I don't even appreciate art. I mean, who cares? But I'm reading this book and I find myself getting passionate over a classical art school versus modern crap. I literally couldn't put this book down. This book is almost 600 pages but it could have been a 1000 and I wouldn't have stopped. 
So while we have the art school aspect, and we have the WWII flashbacks and reading about people being massacred, but we have a love story. An incredibly moving and gorgeous love story. You feel the angst, you feel the swell, you feel it all. And Rafe is a vampire. Don't roll your eyes at me- you will love this. He isn't your sparkly vampire, he is your classical vampire. He's what they should be in literature. The realistic fear he puts in others is how it should be. The romance of a vampire is here. It's everything you want. 
I am not even kidding- this book is lovely. I cannot say that enough because that's the adjective that keeps coming to mind when I think of it. I was so worried about the ending but Helen nailed it. She really ended it on such a romantic, fabulous note that you just find yourself hugging the book while simultaneously wishing you had a Rafe. A guy who is so passionate and in love with you that you can barely catch your breathe. I just want Matt to be Rafe. *sigh* I want a guy who will look at me across the room and make me want to drop my panties. I want to feel that electricity by just a squeeze of  my fingers as he walks by. I want people to feel that magnetic presence. Can I just add? Debut novel. This is a debut novel and I can't even handle it. She's so good that I can't imagine her being even better. No pressure, Helen!
Bottom line, you need this book in your life. 
Good news, I have ONE copy to give away. US/Canada only, no PO Boxes, sign yourself up. I will draw a winner on Friday, November 29. Leave a comment below WITH your email address. Share this post on your social media and get yourself an extra entry (leave me the link). 
Check out Helen's website to get your fill in the mean time!